Psychological consequences of burn injury

Burns. 1991 Dec;17(6):478-80. doi: 10.1016/0305-4179(91)90075-r.


The major psychological sequelae experienced by patients 1 year after burn injury were investigated. Data were collected on a consecutive series of adult burn patients, (n = 55), including major demographic and epidemiological characteristics. Participants (n = 23) completed the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS), the Impact of Event Scale (IES) and a questionnaire covering functional impairment, visibility of the burn, experience of pain, etc. Over one-third of the patients (36.4 per cent) were found to have premorbid characteristics which could predispose them to injury. Over one-third (34.7 per cent) were still experiencing significant psychological problems. Anxiety was most common, followed by posttraumatic stress symptoms and depression. The visibility of the burn was found to be a useful factor in the prediction of psychological outcome (P = 0.001-0.018). No additional variables were found to increase the significance of prediction. Patients indicated that practical advice in the form of staff-led discussions, before or immediately after discharge, would be the most valuable help.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Burns / pathology
  • Burns / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Psychological Tests
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires